L-R: #30 SADIE RAUGHTON JUNIOR- SHOOTING GUARD, #23 CHASE ALLEN JUNIOR- POWER FORWARD, #24 JAVIA SAMPLES SOPHOMORE- GUARD, #15 RILEY CHAPMAN SENIOR- GUARD, #14 RACHEL BURKHALTER SENIOR- GUARD, #33- JEREMIAS HEARD SENIOR- POWER FORWARD
Boys: Jacob Travis
Girls: Sally Echols
Basketball just means more in Shannon. Both girls’ and boys’ teams are coming off seasons that concluded in the state playoff tournament and both teams are hungry for more.
The Model Girls are looking to improve upon a run that ended with a loss to Mt. Paran Christian in the 2nd round of the playoffs. They return several key contributors from last season that should give them the opportunity to build off that success.
“We are excited to have a year under our belt with a very young team last year that has put in a lot of work in the off-season to get ready for this season,” says Girls Head Coach Sally Echols. “We have high expectations for each other and if we can focus on the goal of improving each day and play for each other, everything else will fall into place.”
Echols has driven home the “we before me” mentality to this team and they have embraced it. They have put in work to get better as individuals but have worked just as hard to become better teammates.
“We essentially get to play a season in the month of June, and you really get to see the chemistry of your team start to develop,” says Echols. “Every one of these girls worked hard on themselves so they can be better teammates when the season starts. That’s where we are now. So, the time together as a team in June and the individual work up until now are about to pay off when the season begins.
The boys made a historic run to the Final Four last season, where they lost by 10 to Providence Christian Academy. It was an amazing journey but coming that close to the ultimate glory only left them wanting more. That said, Head Coach Jacob Travis knows they must take the season one game at a time.
“Every year is a new year,” says Travis. “We will have a laser-like focus on who we are, not our opponent and the rest will take care of itself. We have been working a lot. Any day that ends in Y, we are at the gym. We live by the mantra, be the best team we can be and if we do that, we can achieve our goals.”
The players buy what Travis is selling and put in the work to get better each and every day. Concentrating on being shot-makers instead of shot takers, getting their 10,000 shots up, enhancing their ball-handling skills, and building up their conditioning to be game-ready when the season starts are just a few examples.
“What’s done in the dark, is revealed in the light,” says Travis. “These kids are working tirelessly to become better players and I expect that to show itself in the way they play this season.
Blue Devil basketball is a way of life, and these teams are excited to add the next chapter to a storied program.